Author Archives: Joel D. Hirst

About Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist and a playwright. His most recently released work is "Dreams of the Defeated: A Play in Two Acts" about a political prisoner in a dystopian regime. His novels include "I, Charles, From the Camps" about the life of a young man in the African camps and "Lords of Misrule" about the making and unmaking of a jihadist in the Sahara. "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" and its sequel "The Burning of San Porfirio" are about the rise and fall of socialist Venezuela (with magic).

Dr. Zhivago

The fulcrum around which Dr. Zhivago turns occurs about 3/4 of the way through the novel. Yurii Zhivago is holed up in Varykino, a rural Ural estate where his family has onetime lived. He is on the run from the … Continue reading

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In Venezuela the Church Still Endures

Yesterday I had coffee with a new friend, who is himself Catholic, and in a wide-ranging conversation you have when you are surprised by stumbling upon a kindred spirit, I recalled this article I wrote about the Catholic Church in … Continue reading

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On Writing

It’s difficult to be a writer in America in 2022. Of course, it’s always been difficult to be a writer. Anywhere. It requires a measure of sacrifice; a Sisyphean sense of the futile; and an overinflated perception of self. Writers … Continue reading

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American Writers in Istanbul

“Everybody is writing their Turkey books” Rose Macaulay once wrote in her lovely travel book Towers of Trebizond. This one is Kim Fortuny’s. Kim, it seems, is a professor of American Literature at a university in Istanbul. I love Istanbul … Continue reading

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Putin’s Master Plan

“Neo-Eurasianism utilizes the methodology of Vilfredo Pareto’s school, moves within the logic of the rehabilitation of the notion of organic hierarchy, picks up some Nietzschean motives, and develops the doctrine of the ontology of power, or of the Christian Orthodox … Continue reading

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Life and Fate

This is the novel that Vasily Grossman saw “arrested”. After he submitted it to the censors, and they realized the parallels in the novel between Nazi Germany and the USSR, they seized the copy. Having learned their mistake from Pasternak, … Continue reading

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Levy, Intellectuals and Paris

This should have been marketed and sold as a booklet. Essay selections rarely work in book form, few writers can pull this off and Bernard Henri Levy is no exception. I would have been disappointed, except Levy began the book … Continue reading

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To Talk of Many Things… (Vol. #15 – Russian Literature)

‘I weep for you,’ the Walrus said:I deeply sympathize.’With sobs and tears he sorted outThose of the largest size I read a lot of Russian literature, I have for many years. Writers who care naturally gravitate to Pushkin and Grossman … Continue reading

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Dueling Nihilisms

Nihilism took center stage in a debate between Aleksandr Dugin and Bernard-Henri Levy. “For me, the embodiment of nihilism today is you (Dugin), and your friends, and the Eurasian current and this morbid atmosphere which fills your books and the … Continue reading

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What Putin Really Wants

Aleksandr Dugin has been called Putin’s Rasputin. He is a philosopher who cut his teeth in the underground Iuzhinskii Circles in Moscow during the days of the USSR. His ideas were not mainstream Soviet ideas; full of nationalism and metaphysics … Continue reading

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